Unnatural Natural Almost Disasters

Upon returning to NYC from New Mexico the god almighty above said let insanity be done upon Brooklyn, in accordance with the prophecy, for Tristan has cometh back.  Bah, just kidding, I wish I could take credit for first an earthquake and then a hurricane, but alas while I have the power to get thee drunk I can not, yet, shake the world.  Yet it is true, as I sat at the distillery one fine afternoon I took note of what I thought was the familiar feeling of a subway train trundling down a tunnel just under the building, and yet come to think of it there isn’t a train near the distillery… it must be the freight elevator and someone unloading crates onto it, ‘damn trucks,’ I thought to myself.  It was the shuddering of the bottles quietly tinkling on the shelves as they shivered against each other that made me look around and rest eyes on our tubs of liquid begin to roll back and  forth with visible waves of corn and barley sloshing against their lids, something weird might be happening.  Trying to make sense of this nonsense I finally stumbled my way over to a window to set my eyes upon the street lamp looking like a damn metronome, at which point I admitted to myself that yes in spite of being on the east coast I was experiencing my first earthquake, so I made way way to the door frame where I stood watching inexperienced Brooklynites bounce down the hallway laughing at the absurdity of a New York quake.  Although it lasted much longer than I would have thought possible, it left as fast as it came, rolling in as large waves to shake up my bourbon and my afternoon.  Even though it did leave me a little off balance for a little while the biggest fallout was easily the mass movement of social media outbursts.  Following the earthquake it was apparent that more people ran for their phones then for cover, which left me with endless entertainment all day.

The Apocalypse is coming, here’s why:

Following our shake up my father posted on my facebook wall, ‘watch out for the hurricane that’s coming next.  haha.’  A jest.  A poke at the fact that Brooklyn should be too cool for earthquakes.  So I found myself bunkering down one fine night a week later with my friends, 10 gallons of water, 10 gallons of bourbon, some canned food, and three 12 packs of beer watching as our good friend Hurricane Irene thrashed not overly violently against our house.  The true fallout from Irene were the 3 days prior to it actually hitting us.  With the blitz on stores for canned food and water, as well as Rittenhouse Rye which was wiped form all liquor store shelves, people’s emotion were actually running on high and you could see it in everything.  It was a palpable feeling wafting through the streets on the day before it was supposed to hit us, excitement and dread actually hung in the humid air.  It sounds dramatic, but walking the neighborhood that morning watching people bustle around in an overly quiet and inward mood, feeling the weight of the oppressive humidity, there was something vaguely electric in the air that made your heart beat faster the longer you lingered out unprotected in the world.  I’ve heard it described before but never felt such an eerie energy actually pulse through a community.  Much like the unsettling emotions stirring around outside, the opposite was equally as strong upon entering the safety of home.  The comfort of seeing the girls lounging idly on the couch, hearing soft weathery music playing through the speakers, and enjoying gentle rain against windows were all amplified by the tangible tension outside, it created such a warm sensation of safety.  In the end it turned out to be just a good excuse for NYC to take a weekend off, the best possible result.  Although our night filled with friends, cocktails, and Tears for Fears karaoke seemed to resemble any normal night, there was a depth created by the uncertainty of what might happen that seemed to elevate it to an event, luckily this time the hurricane gave to us an awesome night rather than the potential nightmare that it threatened to unveil.  What better time is there to open the good bottles of booze and thaw out the emergency stash of Hatch green chile then when you are locked up in a house with your best friends about to face certain doom.

I am now waiting for a dinosaur to knock on my door, as it seems the next logical step in the end of the world.

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Not Enough Hours

Every time I post on here I swear that I am going to become more religious about updating you guys on the happenings of Brooklyn and Manhattan, and yet it is the very lifestyle of those chaotic locales that keep me from doing so.  I find that when I finally have a moment to breathe rather than grab my computer and begin to type away I actually need to get some sleep!  Since I last updated you at the end of June, much debauchery has transpired.  In order to better organize my thoughts and give you a preview of the extreme purge about to attack your screen here is a quick rundown of what 2 months can contain: Cognac tastings at Daniel, Earthquakes, Hurricanes, lots of bourbon, endless amounts of bars, trips to Colorado and New Mexico, bartending, pro soccer games, the US Open, trains through the Hudson Valley, Hikes through upstate NY, Sufjan, Decemberists, grilling, chalkboards, carrying cabinets through Williamsburg, and much much more.  Ready for this?  It might take a few days, and more than a few posts, but as I have come to rely on this website to catalog my travels and experiences, I truly do want to get it all up.  So without further ado, let’s dive in.

The more time I spend at Amor y Amargo the more in love I fall with being behind the bar.  All week I look forward to being at the bar with my good friend Chris serving up drinks to the fine people of the East Village.  Side by side I feel like Chris and I gear up every single shift with the mind set to conquer the night.  We are never content to simply make it through a night like a job that merely needs attending, but rather  make it our mission to make sure that every night is an experience for the guests as well as ourselves.  It has inspired both of us to continually attack volumes of spirit and cocktail knowledge and return to the bar week after week with new techniques, drinks, and fun facts to try out on our unassuming clientele.  This constant drive to expand understanding of the cocktail world has fortunately dropped us into some really cool events, such as a cognac tasting at one of the worlds most prestigious restaurants.  Being served foie gras delicacies prepared by Daniel Boulud himself and sipping on endless amounts of cognac based cocktails seems to be a method of teaching that I can truly commit myself towards.

After a crazy winter, not much of a spring, and then an obnoxiously erratic and hot summer it was time for me to escape this side of the world and retreat back to the wonderfully open and fresh southwest.  Flying first to Boulder to capture some mountain air and remind my good friend Kara Henry that well earned hangovers are worth it, and in the process uncovering one of my new favorite cocktail bars in the US, the Bitters Bar.  I spent the days hiking the mountains and the nights dining at Boulders incredible restaurants and bars, almost enough to convince me not to leave.  Colorado also being a hub for American distilleries, I made sure to swing into Stranahan’s to meet their Head Distiller and tour around their incredible facilities getting a feel for what a full blown coast to coast distributed Whiskey process was like.  Intimidating.  Exciting.  From Boulder I drove south towards home with my father, and feeling like a star struck foreigner in my own home, couldn’t recall to its proper position my dropped jaw at just how beautiful the landscape is out in the nether regions of our enormous country.  I have in the past heard time and time again from visitors about the vivid colors and sweeping vistas of New Mexico and until being away for an extending period, exaggerated by living in a concrete jumble of buildings, had not comprehended what exactly that had meant.  Returning from NY to NM was like flicking on some absurd filter on a digital camera that blows colors into whole new levels, my dad only slightly annoyed by my repetitious outburst of awe.  For 5 days I relaxed and basked in the thin and crisp air of 6000 ft elevation, feeling much rejuvenated, I flew back to NYC with suitcases burdened by 20 extra lbs of green chile.

Upon my return to the city from the spacious Rocky Mountains, all hell decided to break loose.

Work beckons me back this afternoon, bourbon for some reason refuses to make itself, but tomorrow afternoon we will continue with upstate adventures, earthquakes, Sufjan Stevens dressed as a crystal, and hurricanes.  I promise.

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